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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe

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This easy, tasty, healthy Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe is easy to make when you’re in a hurry! Full of flavor and loaded with veggies, this family friendly supper will be a sure fire hit!

whole wheat pasta recipe topped with spinach, pasta sauce, parmesan cheese on a white plate, with a fork

Last night was one of those nights: we had a crazy busy weekend, no time to get groceries, and I was left staring at my open fridge at 7pm trying to figure out what to do for dinner. Luckily, with the help of a few frozen veggies and pantry staples – I was able to create an amazing, elegant meal in less than 30 minutes.

This dish is super nutritious and budget friendly. With spinach, red onions, garlic, tomatoes and whole wheat pasta this budget friendly meal is high in fiber, antioxidants, rich in protein, and vitamins and nutrients.  This family friendly meal is your answer to the weeknight meal dilemma!

My husband and kids were definitely happy with this dish. It was comforting, filling, and an all around family pleasing recipe.

whole wheat pasta recipe topped with spinach, pasta sauce, parmesan cheese on a white plate, with a fork

Tools and Equipment You’ll Need for This Recipe

How to Make this Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe – Step by Step

Step 1: Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, sauté the onions, garlic and frozen spinach with 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan.

spinach onion garlic sauteeing in a pan

Step 2: Once the pasta is cooked, drain and set aside. Once the spinach mixture is heated through, add the fire roasted tomatoes.

tomatoes added to spinach mixture in pan

Step 3: Stir in salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper (all to taste) into the spinach/tomato mixture. Heat up your pasta sauce in a separate saucepan.

tomatoes added to spinach mixture in pan

Step 4: Assemble your pasta. Start with a layer of rotini pasta, top with veggie mixture.

pasta topped with spinach

Step 5: Top with sauce, and finish off with 2 Tbsp grated fresh Parmesan cheese.

closeup of whole wheat pasta recipe topped with spinach, pasta sauce, parmesan cheese on a white plate

I liked layering the pasta like this because it reminded me of lasagna (without the time intensiveness of making lasagna)!

What makes this Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe healthy?

  • Whole Wheat Pasta: Whole grain pasta whole grain pasta is lower in carbs and calories and higher in fiber and nutrients. For even more protein and fiber, use a lentil or chickpea based pasta.
  • Loads of Leafy Greens: Spinach is a superfood full of vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. It’s high in folate, which is key to red blood cell production, and is an important nutrient for pregnant women. Consuming leafy greens also reduces risk of obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure. 
  • High in Fiber: The whole grains and veggies in this recipe make it high in fiber. Fiber is essential for healthy digestion. It also plays a key role in lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels. 
  • Low in Calories: A giant serving of this pasta is only 380 calories total. The loaded veggies reduce the total calorie count while still keeping you full and satisfied!

Will kids enjoy this Whole Wheat Pasta recipe?

Kids love pasta! They won’t notice a big difference between white and whole wheat pasta. Making the switch is pretty seamless. The kids will also enjoy the pasta sauce. If you like it spicy, but worry the kids won’t, you can add a few chiles and crushed red pepper at the end after assembling the kids portions. Or leave the chiles/pepper out all together. If your kids are averse to spinach, chop it up super fine and let it reduce down before mixing it into the sauce in small amounts – and even if your kids notice it – encourage them to give it a try!

whole wheat pasta recipe topped with spinach, pasta sauce, parmesan cheese on a white plate, top view

What are some other healthy pasta choices?

For this recipe, I used a whole wheat pasta, but there are also many other healthy pasta alternatives.

Is whole wheat pasta really better for you?

Yes, it is! Whole wheat pasta retains the fiber and nutrients of grain, while white pasta is stripped of nutrients and then processed. White pasta is a simple carb that turns directly into sugar. Whole wheat pasta takes longer to digest leaving you feeling fuller longer. While you might load up on a large serving of white pasta and be hungry a few hours later, whole wheat pasta keeps you feeling fuller longer, also reducing the total serving size you’ll need to feel full. 

bite of whole wheat pasta recipe topped with spinach, pasta sauce, parmesan cheese on a white plate

What type of sauce is best to pair with this whole wheat pasta recipe?

Look for a sauce that is low in sugar and sodium. Many pasta sauces on the market have added ingredients. Some even have added cheese or meat. Find a simple organic marinara sauce. I tend to enjoy a garlic, basil and herb sauce.

What do you serve with this Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe?

This recipe is filling and full of everything you need in a meal on one plate. You’ve got whole grains with the pasta, protein with the cheese, and loads of veggies in the sauce and sautéd vegetables. If you’re looking to add a few sides I suggest serving this pasta with a light Caesar Salad, and whole grain garlic bread!

Top Tips For Making Gourmet, Healthy 20 Minute Pasta Meal

  • Cook the pasta al dente (with bite).
  • Use a whole grain pasta, or another healthy variety (like lentil, chickpea, spelt or quinoa) as listed above.
  • To make sure the pasta doesn’t stick together, use at least 4 quarts of water for every pound of noodles, and stir your pasta constantly for the first few minutes of cooking.
  • Use a pre-made pasta sauce low in sodium and sugar.
  • Add in whatever veggies you have in your fridge!
  • Use canned tomatoes with chilies for an extra kick of flavor!
  • Taste as you cook, don’t rely too heavily on the cooking time on the package.
  • Drain your pasta as soon as it’s done. Don’t let it sit in the water off the heat.
  • Add your pasta to your sauce, not your sauce to your pasta.
  • I used frozen spinach as that’s what I had, but you can use fresh.
  • Don’t go overboard with your grated cheese topping!
whole wheat pasta recipe topped with spinach, pasta sauce, parmesan cheese on a white plate, with a fork

Be sure to check out these other healthy pasta recipes!

If you have tried this healthy Whole Wheat Pasta recipe, or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

whole wheat pasta recipe topped with spinach, pasta sauce, parmesan cheese on a white plate, with a fork
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe

This easy, tasty, healthy Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe is easy to make when you're in a hurry! Full of flavor and loaded with veggies, this family friendly supper will be a sure fire hit!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 380kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 8 oz whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 16oz bag organic frozen spinach
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies the green chilies add a wonderful spicy kick to the pasta – so try to use that instead of just plain fire roasted tomatoes!
  • 1 28oz jar pasta sauce
  • Dried Italian seasoning to taste
  • Grated fresh parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper (or crushed red pepper) to taste
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, sauté the onions, garlic and frozen spinach with 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain and set aside. Once the spinach mixture is heated through, add the fire roasted tomatoes.
  • Stir in salt, pepper, italian seasoning, crushed red pepper (all to taste) into the spinach/tomato mixture. Heat up your pasta sauce in a separate saucepan.
  • Stir in salt, pepper, oregano into the spinach/tomato mixture – to taste. Heat up your pasta sauce and get ready to assemble/serve your dish! To assemble: Start with a layer of rotini pasta, top with veggie mixture, top with sauce, and finish off with 2 Tbsp grated fresh Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Top Tips For Making This Gourmet, Healthy 20 Minute Pasta Meal
  • Cook the pasta al dente (with bite).
  • Use a whole grain pasta, or another healthy variety (like lentil, chickpea, spelt or quinoa) as listed above.
  • To make sure the pasta doesn’t stick together, use at least 4 quarts of water for every pound of noodles, and stir your pasta constantly for the first few minutes of cooking.
  • Use a pre-made pasta sauce low in sodium and sugar.
  • Add in whatever veggies you have in your fridge!
  • Use canned tomatoes with chilies for an extra kick of flavor!
  • Taste as you cook, don’t rely too heavily on the cooking time on the package.
  • Drain your pasta as soon as it’s done. Don’t let it sit in the water off the heat.
  • Add your pasta to your sauce, not your sauce to your pasta.
  • I used frozen spinach as that’s what I had, but you can use fresh.
  • Don’t go overboard with your grated cheese topping!

Nutrition

Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2.4g | Cholesterol: 7.9mg | Sodium: 970mg | Potassium: 746mg | Fiber: 12.6g | Sugar: 6g

Posted In…

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16 responses to “Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe”

  1. Wow, this looks absolutely delicious. I recently started to eat healthy foods after I call a doctor which I found some useful information. I am trying to change my approach to how I view my foods, and keep it fresh! Thanks for the posts I love the site!!

    XOXOXOXO

  2. This dish looks like it would be packed with flavor and fill you up quick. Love spinach and peppers – and I may even be able to sneak some extra veggies into the BF without him noticing.

  3. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! I love the kinds of dinners when the ingredients are already in the cupboard, it pulls together quickly and it tastes like it’s been cooking all day, can’t wait to try it!

  4. Nicely done!!! You sure rocked the dinner in such a short time and got great photos to boot. You are amazing! I love it when a dinner comes together with what you have on hand and then it turns out to be something that you really like. Great job!!

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